Recent News of plans to stockpile food in the event of a ‘No Deal’ outcome for Brexit has already brought the vital importance of British farming into stark relief, so it is heartening to hear Education Secretary Michael Gove’s promises of support for the industry to deal with an even more immediate threat – the “unprecedented” impact on food production due to drought.
The National Farmers’ Union (NFU) met officials in London yesterday to discuss “tinderbox” conditions that have reduced grass growth and “depleted” some yields following the UK’s driest start to summer since 1961. The Environment Agency has responded to 44 “significant” environmental incidents, including moorland fires and fish rescues, since the end of June.
With scientists warning the UK faces a future of increasingly common episodes of extremely hot spells as a result of climate change, Mr Gove has pledged to provide farmers “with the support they deserve and the country needs”. While what this will precisely entail is yet to be determined, the public can play their part immediately by heeding NFU deputy president Guy Smith’s guidance on reducing the risk of countryside fires.
He said being responsible with portable barbecues and not setting off things like sky lanterns can play an important part in cutting the chances of devastating blazes starting.
It is simple but sensible advice.